Category Archives: Monthly Roundups

The Sleepy Structuralist: February ’18 Roundup

2017-10-06 (26)

They’ve got a word for everything in academia… and if there isn’t a word already, someone will spend a whole paper justifying why they’ve made one up. It fills the field with a dizzying bevy of -isms and -ologys. I had to reassure a group of new students this month not to worry if they don’t know which term fits their research, or fuss too much about remembering them all. After all, I had to Google what “structuralism” was recently, figuring that “huh, people keep saying this word in papers and stuff, I should probably try to figure out what it means”. Turns out that pesky “structuralism” thing is basically what I’ve been doing the whole time. So that was mildly embarrassing (though it’s nice to know that there’s a specific word out there for your thing and has been this whole time… it was like a way less exciting version of when I discovered definitions of asexuality).

Structuralism in literary studies is an interest in patterns and the way stories are put together, and how they relate to one another in bigger contexts like genre (post-structuralism extends from this into all sorts of fun stuff like text deconstruction and agreeing that there isn’t one “true” reading of a work). If you’ve been following this blog for more than a few posts, that probably sounds very familiar. The more I think about it, the more the hours I spent trawling TV Tropes in high school were neat foreshadowing for my eventual fascination with archetypes and narratives, which is what I’m now lucky enough to be researching and writing about as a job. If I were to make a separate blog for more hoity-toity high-concept academic stuff, I think “The Sleepy Structuralist” would be a fun name for it, as I am, it turns out, something of a structuralist researcher, and also very very tired. A PhD is a hell of a thing. But I’m having fun, don’t worry about that. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring some of my newfound know-how to the blog soon… though I promise not to drown you in terminology.

On the blog this month:

Coming Out of Your (World’s) Shell: Growing Up and Breaking Free with Cocona and Utena (in which I make my first foray into writing about the surreal and sapphic Adolesence of Utena, as well as returning to Flip Flappers to talk about their narratives of growth and escape)

Laid-Back Camp, a (Happy) Story of Solitude (in which I sing the praises of The Cute Camping Anime for its respectful treatment of its introvert protagonist)

The final Madoka episode review! My gosh, what a journey that was.

And episode reviews for A Place Further Than the Universe 5 & 6, and 7 & 8. This show is so damn good, guys.

Cool web content:

Further Than the Universe (39)

DEVILMAN crybaby, Legacies of Queerness, and Diversifying Remakes – Vrai writes about the questionable history of queer rep in the Devilman juggernaut, and how its most recent incarnation does some positive things to bring it into the current day. For instance, hot tip: don’t have literal Satan be your only gay character.

(Side note: I did not watch DEVILMAN crybaby, but I physically cannot stop listening to the opening theme music)

Pop Team Epic – Interview with Producer Kotaro Sudo – a fascinating look behind the scenes of “the shitpost anime” (and I call it that in the most affectionate way possible).

The Ontology of ‘Boys’ in the McElroy Realm, part one and part two – having spent this whole month reading academic texts about Very Serious Business, it was possibly funnier than it should have been to read these two articles about something very silly in the exact same style of language.

Black Panther and the Invention of “Africa” – the kingdom of Wakanda isn’t real, but it does speak to a deep history of Africa as a “mythologized” place, and the efforts to reclaim that for the better.

Above is a neat video essay from Zeria discussing common misconceptions about yuri as a genre, ranging from myths about its gendered marketing to the trouble with subtext (a word often misused to mean “they don’t kiss, therefore it isn’t really a romance”). You can also find the transcript here.

The Diversification of Otaku in Japanese Media – another great AniFem piece, this time looking at the tangled and intriguing history of how otaku characters are portrayed in anime, from the ’80s all the way through the current day.

What’s Wrong with Heteronormativity? — Meg-John Barker is here to answer (and explain) that question. I recently read Queer: A Graphic History, which is a very useful (and fun) book that aims to lay out the history of queer theory and lever it out of that academic jargon I was talking about in the intro to this post. The author has a blog with all sorts of interesting stuff, but this is a particularly neat post that I wanted to share!

To wrap up, I don’t think I’ve ever linked to Caitlin’s Abuse in Shoujo By the Numbers series, so I’m going to correct that now. Week by week, she’s diligently working her way through an entire catalogue of shoujo manga with a rubric in hand to measure the abusive behaviour present in the main romances. Sometimes it’s romanticised, sometimes it’s complicated–she provides discussion to go with each ranking to clarify and summarise her numerical review, as well as talk about whatever else strikes her about that particular work (be that the good, the bad, or the ugly). You can start from the most recent entry and work your way back. If you have any interest in media representation, especially in romance, they’re a fascinating read.

That’s all from me for now! As always, take care, and thank you for reading.


Leave a comment

Filed under Monthly Roundups

The Gods Must Be Crazy: January ’18 Roundup

Further Than the Universe (5)

This month I took some time off before diving into the new academic year, which means in an absence of mandated activity I was effectively on “summer holidays” for the first time since high school. No shifts to work, no studying to do… just me, the sunshine, copious amounts of free time, and the crushing feeling of obligation to Get Things Done.

I’m sure this is a feeling we’re all familiar with in some way. Isn’t it a bastard of an emotion? Someone out there probably has a psychoanalytical explanation that this ingrained sense that we Must Be Productive is the result of capitalism’s slimy grip, but I think it’s also just the way my brain has come to work. When I realised January was half over already I felt the world spiral–my time was nearly up, and I hadn’t done enough!!

Of course, I don’t know what I’d officially define “enough” as. I did a pretty rad amount of writing this month, if I do say so myself (I have the blog queue stocked up quite nicely, and I finished my Madoka writeups, as well as impulsively starting a series on the currently-airing emotions-inducing A Place Further Than the Universe), but I think even if I ended up writing a hundred thousand words in my break I’d feel somehow like I hadn’t hit “enough”. And you know what? It’s a nonsense way for a brain to work. This concept of having to wring the productive potential out of every hour in the day will sap your mental energy when you adhere to it, and leave you anxious and unfulfilled when you don’t. Just do what you can, and remember that you’re allowed to just, like, chill out occasionally. Hours aren’t wasted just because you didn’t make something in them. Making stuff is hard, and you should be proud of anything new that you create! These are the mantras I’m trying to remind myself of, so I thought I’d pass them onto you guys as well.

All that aforementioned writing:




A Big Ol’ Pile of Anime Recommendations (2017)

A Magical Girl Education: Sugar Sugar Rune (the manga with a strong aesthetic, the Power of Friendship, and almost romanticised incest!)

Gods Behaving Badly: Shenanigans of Mythical Proportions (the novel that’s been called “the fluffy whipped-cream version of American Gods” where the gods of Olympus have to flatshare)

Madoka Magica episode writeups for 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 (it was a month with a lot of Mondays, thus a month with a lot of Madokas)

A Place Further Than the Universe episode writeups for 1 & 2, and 3 & 4

Cool Content:


Hey, remember when I complained about Riverdale, but noted that I couldn’t judge it as an adaptation? Here’s someone who can! He says it’s Bad. (Bonus—respectful discussion of asexuality!)

It’s the start of a new anime season (again)! Which means it’s time to check out AniFem’s premiere reviews, all compiled nicely here, to see what looks good, what looks okay, and what looks like Anime Was a Mistake.

Sun, Moon & Stars: Cardcaptor Sakura Retrospective – Marion rewatches the magical girl darling and finds a renewed love for it (and a renewed critical eye for the skeevy aspects to some of the romance).

Recovery of an MMO Junkie: In Defense of an Anxious Protagonist – Black Nerd Problems celebrate the earnest portrayal of Moriko’s anxiety, and how it’s a nice change from the usual stereotypes on-screen anxiousness can fall into (for real, let’s move away from anything associated with Woody Allen, fictional character types or otherwise).

A Twitter thread from Vrai about the “take what you can get” gay character and why it’s a frustrating narrative (tying nicely into some of the problems Marion had with Cardcaptor Sakura).

Fantastic Video Essays by Women and Where to Find Them – on Film School Rejects, some recommendations of analytical video essays about film and media by ladies! Will definitely have to check some of these out.

The Written Word and more Victorian-Era Trappings in Violet Evergarden – looks like Violet Evergarden is the unwatchable (until it appears on my country’s Netflix) series that I’ll be keeping up with through meta posts this season. Emily writes knowledgably and beautifully as always, here about the power of the novel in the Industrial Revolution, and how this factors into Violet’s story.

Netoju no Susume – On Compersion and Virtual Identities – Another MMO Junkie analysis, this time looking into the phenomena of empathy for and identification with fictional characters, and how this influences both the audience watching the series and the how the characters within the series navigate their online relationships.

Weathering the Adolescent Storm: A Place Further Than the Universe and Liberation – everything Nana writes is beautiful, and this time Nana’s writing about freedom and coming-of-age in A Place Further Than the Universe.

Cool Pod-content:

foodstuff banner

There was a glorious phase where I was catching a lot of public transport and thus had plenty of perfect opportunities to listen to podcasts. Nowadays that’s not so much the case, so the rate at which I’m burning through episodes and discovering new series has dropped. That said, I have, courtesy of CP, found FoodStuff, which is a beautiful blend of social history and food science. And it’s run by ladies, which is always nice! They’ve covered everything from the history of the toast to current food fads like flavour tripping (see, I didn’t even know that was a thing, but I have learned!)

Anime Is Lit is also on a valiant mission to help me understand what the hell a DEVILMAN is, and Shojo and Tell continues to be a delight, as does Trash & Treasures. I’ve been in a real “chill out and listen to people talk about things they like” mood, can you tell? It’s the summertime. In between the monstrous desire to be Productive, anyway.

That’s about it for now, one month into 2018. Take care out there, whether it’s in the heat or the cold!

1 Comment

Filed under Monthly Roundups

Don We Now Our Gay Apparel: December ’17 Roundup

Urahara research

Well that sure was a hell of a year. I’m definitely not the only one collapsing while thinking those words, so whether you had a rough year or a good year or just kind of a Year, congratulations, you made it, you have earned a long rest and a drink, and let’s gather ourselves for whatever the next one holds!

2017 was… a pretty big deal for me, career-wise. God, what an Adult sentence. I got paid to write about my geeky passions for the first time, which is a completely awesome milestone, so mega shout-out to the hard-working staff and supporters of AniFem for making that possible! I also started publishing on Lady Geek Girl and Friends, which, while it’s volunteer work, is still incredible since I’ve followed and enjoyed that blog for a long time and am delighted to now be contributing as one of the “and Friends” as well as riding along as a reader.

Perhaps the biggest deal is completing my Honours dissertation, which you can read here! It was a lot of hard work and a lot of fun, and needless to say hugely rewarding, to be able to focus for a year on a topic that I was passionate about and learn and create within that field. The mega exciting news is that a year-long creative research project hasn’t scared me off, and I’ll be sliding into a PhD as of next year–which means an even bigger thesis to yell at!

On the blog this month:


URAHARA and the Crises of Creativity (a discussion of a new magical girl series and how it holds the struggles of creators–be they artists, writers, designers, etc–at the heart of its character drama. Also, body horror. But pastel-coloured and fixed with The Power of Friendship, so it’s okay…?)

Girls on The Hero’s Journey, Two Ways (Starring Moana and Utena) (a modified, blog-ified transcript of a presentation I gave at my very first conference)

Also Madoka Magica episodes three, four, five and six!

On Anime Feminist:

Escapism and Healing in Recovery of an MMO Junkie (in which I manage to get my “I loved this show and I love Moriko and want her to be happy” feelings into a coherent character analysis article)

Cool things around the web:

2017-10-22 (16)

Yes, I know, I’ve used a picture from MMO Junkie for this segment for the last three roundups. It’s just got a lot of good emotive pictures of people at/in computers.

Congratulations To Me, I Have Fixed Love Actually Once and For All — in honour of the Christmas (and thus the Christmas movie) season, I’m bringing back this post from last year in which comedian Rebecca Shaw rewrites the many plots of iconic romance Love Actually to be less “relentlessly, grotesquely, and unforgivingly heterosexual”

The Transformed Earth and Our Children: Land of the Lustrous, Nier,and the Future — I learned what exactly posthumanism is at a very neat panel at the conference. Here is a very neat post looking at how two recent sci-fi works explore it in their own ways

Exceptionalism and Heroism: Most Heroes are Born Into It — a Mary Sue article using Star Wars as a jumping off point to talk about the long history of heroic characters being born into their power, creating “chosen one” narratives where being “chosen” has less to do with destiny and more to do with who your parents are (and creating suffocating family dramas along the way)

Drunk Book Club: The Da Vinci Code — Vrai and Dorothy get tipsy and take some hilarious and eloquent digs at Dan Brown (listen below or at the link)

Sunstone: Love, Humour and Heart Hidden in a BDSM Story — Mythos reviews the queer and kinky love story that is the graphic novel Sunstone, which sounds perfectly delightful in a progressive, positive, sweet, Cute Demon Crashers sort of way

Kyoto Animation, Mental Health, and Me — an exploration of how one studio realistically portrays social anxiety and other issues in their young characters

Afflicted Escapists: MMO Junkie, Mental Health, and Identity — Little Anime Blog is back from hiatus and hitting it out of the park with analysis again, in this case looking into the perception that video games isolate people versus the power video games have to bring people together, in the context of the healing narratives in MMO Junkie. This gets to delve into some stuff my article couldn’t given its focus on Moriko and it’s a good read

I’ve Always Liked You, Childhood Friends — Isaac examines the deep-seated appeal of the “childhood friends to lovers” trope and, I think, hits the nail on the head

Also this Harry Potter chapter written by a bot, which managed entirely by accident to be the funniest thing I have ever seen

And to conclude, please follow this cat on Twitter:

Take care everybody, and I’ll see you in the new year!


Filed under Monthly Roundups

Let’s Live Our Lives Heroically: November ’17 Roundup

i'm a car now too

I never intended to become this much of An Anime Blog. In fact, I have a strangely vivid memory of an anxious thought when I first started this blog, some five years ago: I should avoid writing about anime where possible, and should instead focus on other, more “acceptable” geeky properties like Doctor Who. I’m not sure what exactly brought this on, since I was barely keeping up with Doctor Who by 2012 anyway. It might have been a concern about pageviews, but I think it was mostly just a lingering high school anxiety that I ought to present myself as liking certain things so I could brand myself as… God, who knows? The “acceptable” type of geek, whatever the hell that is? Whose approval was I clamouring for?

Anyway, I wonder how the me of five years ago would react to learning I now get paid (however occasionally) to write about anime, and that I’m diving towards a career based around talking about things I find interesting. With that aforementioned high school anxiety still lingering, this year has been a weird trip of “what do you mean other people want my opinions and ideas?” both in my academic work and in my online writing. I’m doing my best to feel blessed rather than bewildered.

Some of you may be wondering how exactly you go about getting gigs writing for other websites (about anime or otherwise). Which case, I’m afraid I have the most boring and sensible Baby Boomer Dad answer for you: I knocked on the door and asked if they were hiring. Or, I found out about AniFem through someone else I followed, way back in November-ish last year, and sent them a message via their Contact Us page: hi, I see you’re a site all about anime and feminism. Whaddaya know, I am also interested in anime and feminism—sometimes both at once! I see you’re just starting out, so if you’re looking for contributors to fill up this shiny new web-space you occupy, I’d be happy to help. Here are some links to relevant posts so you see that I can a) write coherently, and b) write to your brand. Cheerio!

(At the time, I offered to do it for free because I supported what they were setting up. By the time my first piece went up, though, they’d gained enough Patreon pledges that I could get paid, so bonus!)

New Game professional

Lady Geek Girl was similar; I saw them boosting the link to their “careers” page on Facebook and, having not realised they had such a page before, went to check it out, and ended up sending them a similar message. It’s a paradox for all introverts, but no one will know about you unless you make yourself known—you have to get yourself out there rather than waiting for people to come to you. And to have a portfolio to show off, you have to write. Without all those thousands of words about Stuff I Find Interesting (written for myself, first, rather than that mysterious audience I was so frightened of fresh out of school) I wouldn’t have progressed, both in terms of talent and practice and in terms of career opportunity.

(That said, my two pieces for the now-defunct movie section of Popgates were because the site admin came to me… but as I said, following low stats and a haphazard editing process, that section no longer exists. The admin was very nice, but I’ve had much better experiences with pre-established websites that I sought out. I’m not saying this is an omen for everyone, but that has been my experience)

The this-and-that of all this is that I’ve been working hard this year to fight the knee-jerk assumption that my passions are frivolous, instead embracing them and the opportunities they can bring. I’m posting this roundup so early because I’ll be at a conference at the end of the month, in with a bunch of other researchers all deep in discussion about stories, writing them and reading them and picking them apart. Your passions are important. Your passions should bring you joy rather than embarrassment by instinct. Your passions should, where possible, lead you forward in life, whether that’s career-wise or hobby-wise or friendship-wise.

All this motivational corniness is to puff myself up and make it sound like I’m more emotionally prepared for this conference than I actually am. Not to say I don’t believe in it, but hey, you have to razzle-dazzle ’em. Wish me luck, and I hope you enjoy/ed the posts this month!

On the blog this month

2017-10-06 (26)

When Michael Met Mina: Actually, Yes, Let’s Make It About Race (in which I review a book about inherited bigotry and the weird and awful bubbling cauldron that is race relations in Australia. At least we voted to legalise same-sex marriage…)

The Princess, the Witch, the Goddess, and the Rose Bride (looking at Utena through the lens of The Hero’s Journey again—this time at Anthy, who fulfils the role of The Goddess, and is having a super bad time there)

And the Summer Rewatch Project begins with Madoka Magica episodes one and two!

On AniFem

Escape From Yuri Hell: Flip Flappers’ Critique of the Class S Genre (in which, through research, I finally fully understand what episode 5 of Flip Flappers was going for, and appreciate it massively more because of it. I seem to have helped other people do the same, and for that I’m very happy)

Around the Webzone

2017-10-22 (22)

The Persistence of Memory? Land of the Lustrous and Metaphysical DeathLand of the Lustrous is this season’s Made in Abyss, in that I can’t watch it, but I am keeping up with it via the flow of really good analysis of it. This post asks: if our bodies could never be destroyed, what would we fear instead of death? A loss of memory and death of the self?

“But There’s a Reason It’s There!” How to Meta Critique (Guest-Starring Land of the Lustrous) – see? There it is again. This time, it’s a prime example in a discussion of the age-old “but there’s a reason [problematic element/tired trope/troubling plot] is like that” rebuttal to any kind of critique or criticism. You don’t need to know Land of the Lustrous to have a great time reading the post, since it lays out the problems with this mindset in such a concise and clean way that I think I’m going to keep it bookmarked in case I ever run into that kind of conversation.

Stranger Things 2 Keeps Its “Strong Female Characters” Apart From One Another, Just Like Every Hollywood Genre Property – sci-fi is getting better (slowly) at including dynamic and complex women, sometimes even in starring roles… but it’s not letting these characters interact with each other. It’s an annoying issue that goes deeper than whether or not a show gets a tick for passing The Bechdel Test.

Index of Flip Flappers Reviews and Articles – there’s an absolute goldmine of Flip Flap meta on the internet, and this blog’s compiled a handy list of a bunch of them! Some personal recommendations:

Revolutionary Girl Utena: Reflections on the Protagonist — a trio of posts adapted from an academic paper about Utena’s multifaceted nature and how she challenges and engages with our typical ideas of what it means to be a “protagonist” and “hero”. Exactly my jam.

And to cap off, I want to link to this  webseries, Anime Crimes Division, which gives me the giggles.


Leave a comment

Filed under Monthly Roundups

Aced It: October ’17 Roundup

isaac and miria

It’s October, the scariest time of year… thesis finishing time! Oh, and Halloween I guess. It’s not a super big deal over here, which is mostly a shame because our retailers skip straight to Christmas. Come on dudes, it’s not even November… I can feel the mounting stress of retail employees on the breeze with the jingling of bells.

In any case, it’s been another busy and exciting month of writing and editing and proofreading, and watching bucketloads of anime to empty my brain in the in-between moments. A charming yet rowdy cat has also joined the household; I am still trying to teach him that computer keyboards are not a place to sit and that feet are not things to nibble on.

On the blog this month:

Baccano! Vol. 2: All Aboard, We’re Going to Hell (in which a whole new madcap band of immortals, gangsters, and immortal gangsters fight over a train)

Oh Riverdale, You Beautiful Neon-Lit Garbage Fire (in which I lament the death of coherence and my interest in a show that started out with such promise, but in the end essentially served to remind me why I don’t watch a lot of American live-action TV anymore)

On Lady Geek Girl and Friends:

Asexual Awareness Week: Two YA Novels with Complex, Geeky, Lovable Demi Protagonists (in which I tell the world about my beautiful children Darcy Patel and Aled Last, in honour of Asexual Awareness Week)

What are we reading this month?

2017-10-22 (4)

It was anime premiere season again (already? God, it feels like the summer previews were only the other day) which means it was premiere blogging season. Notoriously bad as I am at keeping up with shows week-by-week (or rather, I’m just so much better at watching stuff when I have a pile of episodes to get sucked into, rather than bite-sized amounts), there are actually enough simulcasts piquing my interest this time round that I’ve re-subscribed to Crunchyroll. Multiple paid subscriptions! How extravagant!! At least, until you consider how much content you’re getting access to for the cost of maybe half a DVD. We really are living in a golden age.

Anyway, I said all that last time, so let’s move onto the other internet discussions that captured my interest this month:

That time the Guardians of the Galaxy fought Cú Chulainn and found the Book of Kells – while researching contemporary adaptations of the Ulster Cycle and its characters, I found a report on a particularly wild Marvel comics arc from the ‘90s where… well, the title says it all. It was the most baffling and entertaining way that research could have gone

The Real-Life Importance of Happy Endings for Queer Characters – a wonderfully written examination of tropes and history and how they affect the way LGBTQ+ folks see themselves

Brainiacs Need Useless Girls: Analysis of the Popular Romantic Trope – exactly what it says on the tin, looking at manga and drama as particularly bad perpetrators of this gendered setup

Gallery of the Unknowns – for the art history lovers amoung you, a blog that specialises in paintings with some degree of mystery to them, be it work by an unknown artist, portraits of unknown sitters, or artworks that just kind of showed up at the back of an auction house somewhere and may or may not be worth millions

My Girlfriend is a ShoBitch and What We Teach Teen Girls About Sex – this anime has by far the most skeezy and bizarre title of the season, but in amongst its horny-and-corny-comedy premise is some important commentary on the expectations media feeds teenagers about sexuality

A thread about Death of the Author as it relates to marginalised communities – a Twitter series about authorial intent vs audience seeing themselves in a work of fiction, and how underrepresented groups have trained themselves to hunt for subtext

Made in Abyss: A History of Going Down – still haven’t been able to watch this show, but the meta on it continues to be great. This post examines Made in Abyss in the context of a long history of stories about worlds beneath the world and what that represents to the human psyche

The New Inquiry issue on fanfiction – contains some great quotes and insight about fanfic and fan creations as criticism

Summer Anime Overview: ReCreators – an analysis of where ReCreators went so wrong with its potentially fascinating premise, mostly in the realm of picking the wrong protagonist for the job

The Failed Feminism of 18if – yet more great analysis of a show I did not watch, in this case discussing how this dreamworld-hopping fantasy anime shoots itself in the foot by setting out to tell stories about women overcoming patriarchal pressures and then… having all those stories revolve around the main male character?

Now alas, I have no new podcasts to show off this month. But I have been having a wonderful time with Our Fake History again, especially the “Was there a real Trojan War?” series (which has been very useful prep for a certain retelling of The Iliad that you will probably see reviewed here soon-ish) and the two-parter on the bizarre life and death of Rasputin.

Since people enjoyed the Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am clip I posted way back when (a.k.a. The Period Rap), I thought I’d take this chance to instead showcase some more indie Australian comedy (which is, come to think of it, most of the live-action TV I’ve been watching these days. That, and endless rewatches of Arrested Development).

Without further ado, Get Krackin: in which the ladies of The Katering Show (a web series that shouldn’t be region-locked, if you’re craving more of them) expand from making fun of cooking shows to making fun of breakfast talk shows, with a healthy dose of pseudo-science trend-shaming (my housemates and I had seen an ad telling us how great tumeric was that very day, and we Just Lost It when this came on):

And with that, I sign off for the month. Take care everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under Monthly Roundups

Flip Flap, Flip Flap: September ’17 Roundup

flip flap

Hey Alex, how do you produce So Much Content?

Well, the first and easiest answer is that if I’m not writing and creating content I will literally dissolve.

The second and possibly less unsettling answer is that most posts are scheduled at least a month in advance, so generally I’m not actually churning out five whole posts each four-week period (to use this month as an example). My AniFem piece was also in the editing pipeline for a couple of months (due to a combination of the editors being uber busy with convention season and the piece going through a rigorous and amazing editing process. Seriously, Caitlin and Dee are powerful and work very hard to make the articles that go up the best they can be!) so the only posts I generally write the month of publication are for Lady Geek Girl, since those are pitched on a monthly basis.

That said, I’m still working hard to write the posts to put in the queue for the next few months, so maybe I do end up writing an equivalent of five posts every four-week period… it would depend on the period in question, what else I have going on, et cetera. This ties neatly back into the first answer.

You’re writing about a helluva lot of anime these days, aren’t you?

Jeez, I sure am. There are a couple of factors behind this: first, that anime is so very, deliciously accessible these days with the rise of legal streaming sites. It’s such a blessed change from even five years ago! I’m also much more plugged into the anime blogging community than I have been before, so I can keep an eye out for recommendations of what exactly to try out. Bobbing in a pool of writers publishing fun and insightful articles about anime also inspires me to do the same, and of course watching and thinking about anime gives me potential pitches for both AniFem (obviously) and Lady Geek Girl (where I am one of a small fraction of weebs on the writing staff, which means anime reviews and discussion are a less common angle and subject matter, so I can safely pitch knowing it’s less likely to have been written about before).

The last reason is that I’ve been doing a lot of reading, reading, reading this year, so visual media has been the way to go when I’m trying to unwind! (Yes, I know, I have the subtitles to read, but it’s a wholly different experience)

Is it difficult balancing a thesis with blogging for fun and writing for other websites?

You just have to manage your time well. Again, if I’m not writing I will become a puddle of a human being, so having that drive definitely helps. For the love of goodness don’t sign up for any kind of higher degree if you don’t love reading a lot and writing a lot.

Alex you dweeb, are you just writing gay mythology fanfiction for your thesis? How did you get away with this?

Well, yes and no. As I said in my three-minute presentation I’m responding to Campbell’s assumptions and other scholars’ critique of his work with a “reimagining” of an old story: an original narrative in its own world that borrows The Hero’s Journey structure, rather than a direct retelling of a myth but with the hero’s gender simply switched out. As well as giving me more wriggle-room to build the world and the supporting cast around the point this project is trying to make, this is basically so readers don’t need to know the myth it’s based on to understand and enjoy the story. Obviously it’s being written to come parcelled with the academic exegesis explaining all the research and intent behind it, but it’s also super important that it’s just an engaging and accessible story. With heroic lesbians!

Anyway, everything’s a little bit fanfiction, and there’s nothing wrong with that–in fact, it’s a perfectly valid form of creative response in the field of academia (though obviously you have to make sure your copyright stuff is all in order. Ancient myths written down by monks: not such a big deal. Contemporary fiction: have a long talk with your supervisor first). I have a barrel full of sources talking about how revision of myths, fairy tales, and other familiar cultural stories for the purpose of reflecting or inviting cultural change is a much-loved and progressive practice, but since I’m miraculously still excited to talk about this project rather than exhausted with it, I’ll save all that for another post.

You finished watching both Flip Flappers and Revolutionary Girl Utena this month. Have you overdosed on metaphor-laden queer coming of age story?

…just a little bit

You didn’t get sick this month! Congratulations!

Don’t jinx it!!


On the blog:

Baccano! vol. 1: Live Forever or Die Trying (in which I read a light novel for the first time. People get shot)

The Death of Innocence and Rebirth of the Hero in Revolutionary Girl Utena (in which I realise that Utena is exactly my jam in so many thematic ways)

On AniFem:

Adding Salt to Sweet Vanilla: The Complex Women of ToraDora! (in which you were incorrect if you thought I’d finished having thoughts and feelings about this show and these characters)

On Lady Geek Girl:

The Garden of Words: A Masterpiece, But Did It Have to Be a Love Story? (well? Did it???)

Magical Mondays: A Journey Inside the Mind with Madoka Magica and Flip Flappers (in which two magical girl series delve into the inner worlds of their characters and results may vary)

Cool Links

I have never watched The Big Bang Theory, so it’s nice to have someone else so eloquently explain why the whole vibe of it upsets me so much:

Here, Cracked argues that Game of Thrones has finally been screwed over by the conflicting laws of genre it’s trying to play with

Here, a lovely personal piece about anime, personal growth and nostalgia

Here, The Fandomentals discuss and define “superhero fatigue” and ponder that Wonder Woman’s success was probably because it was, finally, something different, in having a woman in its starring role of course but also by attempting to be optimistic in a world of Nolan-esque Batmen, hitting this particular nail on the head:

Here’s the thing, grimdark for the sake of “edginess” is a privilege. Our own reality has become quite bleak over the years and most of us have to deal with some sort of oppression, hate, or prejudice. Pretending to live in a Crapsack World is no longer that fun or relevant. But stories? Stories are more relevant than ever. They’re a powerful tool to keep us going in times like these, to resist and refill our hearts with hope and positivity.

Here, a reflection on non-binary identity and the magical girl genre: “If gender isn’t binary, then being magical isn’t either”

Here, a post about hunting for ace representation in the media you love (and maybe, just maybe, finding it in My Love Story!)

Here, Artemis and Watson continue their slog through the series voted Worst Anime Ever with the baffling concept of Vampire Holmes

And here, a post about three different food-focussed series and how to strike the perfect balance between being a story about delicious edible goods and a story about people

Alas, I don’t have any new podcasts to recommend this month, but Chatty AF suffered through both Netflix’s Death Note and Neo Yokio to come out with some great discussion and insight that is definitely worth a listen to. Travis and Theresa were also particularly adorable in the Shmanners episode about eloping.

As always, take care out there everybody. Stay safe, stay hydrated, stay rad.

1 Comment

Filed under Monthly Roundups

Sapphic Steampunk Superhero Shenanigans: August ’17 Roundup

galko grin

Well, I spent this month having my immune system beaten over the head with a shovel. I think I was bedridden and asleep for a solid chunk of it. Still, I didn’t miss too much news in my mini-coma! For example, the Netflix Death Note movie happened!!

On a more serious note, some nasty stuff is happening in the world at the moment. It would be facetious not to acknowledge that, even though I can’t really do much about it, much as, of course, we all wish we could. Sometimes the world is too big, too frustrating, too scary, and it all threatens to suck you down its drainpipe, and you watch that whirling precipice approach and think “what am I really doing to help this? What can I, tiny dot in the cosmos, really do to help this?”

Here’s the thing we all have to remember: the cosmos is made up of tiny dots. If I can give someone something entertaining or interesting to read that takes their mind off things for a little while at the end of a hard day, I’ve made the world a little bit better. We’re all saving the world in our own tiny ways, day by day, and the truth is we just have to keep on doing our thing, boats against the current of the despair drainpipe, giving it the middle finger as we swim in the opposite direction.

And so, here’s what I published this month:

Here on the blog:

Secret Women’s Business: Galko-chan vs Stigmas and Body Stuff (in which Please Tell Me! Galko-chan was really, really good, actually)

Clancy of the Undertow: A Delightful and Unconventional YA Protagonist (in which I introduce you all to Clancy, who is my small angry gay daughter whom I love)

Adventures in Asian Drama: My Little Lover (in which a teenager magically shrinks, nobody communicates, and it all somehow ends in a coma and a wedding)

On Lady Geek Girl and Friends:

Magical Mondays: Showing, Not Telling in Princess Principal (told you I’d end up writing something about this series, eh?)

How Telltale Games Plays With Expectations in Their Superhero Series (in which Telltale achieves the impossible by being fresh and new in the superhero genre and making me care about Batman)

What’s Cool?

I (re)discovered Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox recently and it’s been a wild ride going through the whole discography. I will leave you with this cover, a personal favourite, and appropriate for this post since it makes me think of Clancy:

Covers that change the vocalist but not the pronouns, thus making the song No Longer Straight, are one of my understated favourite things. Now, reading material:

In the wake of the Beauty and the Beast “first gay moment” debacle and others like it, here is one writer arguing why creators telling us to “keep an eye out! ;)” for queer characters in their movies does not count as LGBTQ+ representation

Here is a reflection on the impact and resonance (intended or otherwise) the Animorphs series had on trans youth of its era

Here is a long, but fascinating, article about abridgments and censorship in translations, which opened my eyes to some industry intricacies I hadn’t been aware of before and also made me realise I probably read the shitty original translation of The Phantom of the Opera

Here is the wise and well-versed Erica Friedman discussing the history of the term “yuri” and how the genre developed

Here is the very valid question, put into better words than I could myself, of why the hell the Amazons in Wonder Woman are worshipping Zeus when a) in the comics they have always revolved around a goddess, b) Zeus is such a dick

Here is Dee’s endorsement for Dance with Devilsa… supernatural harem comedy musical that ends up saying some really interesting stuff about romantic fantasies and female empowerment? Damn, I might have to hunt this down

Also from a while ago but always relevant is this piece about the accusation “you’re watching it wrong” and objective viewer experience (also from that blog… apparently The World God Only Knows actually does something interesting and meaningful with its trashy concept by the third series??)

Last but not least, here is a fun Cracked article that suggests, among other silly things, the theory of Mad Max as post-apocalyptic mythology, which I can definitely dig

The Podcast Corner

anime is lit

This time ’round I have two new indie pods to recommend: Anime Is Lit, where two friends discuss anime and related media through the eyes of both fandom love and literary criticism; and Manga in Your Ears, where ongoing and completed manga series of similar themes are reviewed and compared. They’re both fun, interesting, easy listening, and have each inspired and intrigued me to add new series to my ever-long list of things I ought to watch/read.

The only curse is that these are both very new, meaning I’ve “caught up” all too quickly and am now waiting for new content like a golden retriever sitting by the front door (if the podcasters are reading this, please, don’t be guilt-tripped by this imagery… but do know that it is true).

As one last link before I go, here is a quiz to discover what gallant illustrious phrase the poet Homer would use to describe you. I got “Giant-Killer”, which is significantly more badass than I was expecting. Life throws you surprises sometimes though, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s a sign I should be more confident.

I want all of my readers to know that any time someone says to me “Hey, I read your blog post and it got me interested in reading that book/playing that game/watching that show you wrote about!” it increases my power by 110%. It’s good to know I’m spreading good stuff around–as I said at the start, that’s all we can really strive to do, isn’t it?

Take care, everybody!



Filed under Monthly Roundups